In recent years, Ford has acquired a bit of a reputation for opacity in its dealings with the media.
One example was its promise in December 2015 that it would introduce 13 new "electrified" vehicles by 2020.
Ford didn't specify what those were, or what the term meant, leading to widespread inaccurate reporting that assumed that meant 13 electric cars ... with plugs.
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It didn't mean that at all.
Technically, all cars are "electrified" to some degree—but the term is customarily used to refer to cars electrified components operating at more than the 12 volts of a conventional vehicle.
That includes not only cars with plugs, but mild and full hybrids and even cars fitted with new 48-volt enhanced start-stop systems, even though they can't travel under electric-only power at all.
2017 Ford Focus Electric
Given Ford's so far anemic presence in battery-electric vehicles, some commentators suggested that enhanced start-stop systems might make up a substantial portion of those "electrified" Ford vehicles.
Now we know they won't.
Ford's upcoming electrified vehicles will all be full hybrids (capable of operating under electric-only power), plug-in hybrid adaptations of those hybrids, or battery-electric vehicles.
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Green Car Reports confirmed that fact yesterday during a quick but fact-filled interview with Ford's Hau Thai-Tang, VP of global procurement.
Thai-Tang specifically ruled out anything below a full hybrid for inclusion in that list of vehicles.
And he specifically confirmed that the 13 would all be hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or battery-electric vehicles.
2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R
We now know what seven of those 13 vehicles by 2020 will be.
They include the small all-electric SUV with a range of 300 miles or more; hybrid versions of the F-150 full-size pickup truck and Mustang sports coupe; and the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid for Europe only.
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The other three, about which far less is known, are a "high-volume hybrid autonomous vehicle" and "two new pursuit-rated hybrid police vehicles."
Oddly, the Transit Connect Hybrid taxi concept that Ford will display next week at the Detroit Auto Show is not listed among them.